Career and Education Opportunities for Paralegals in Seattle, Washington
There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for paralegals in the Seattle, Washington area. There are currently 370 working paralegals in Washington; this should grow 12% to 420 working paralegals in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for paralegals are expected to grow by about 13.9%. In general, paralegals assist lawyers or judges by researching or preparing legal documents.
Paralegals earn approximately $22 per hour or $46,870 per year on average in Washington. Nationally they average about $17 hourly or $37,130 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Representation, people working as paralegals in Washington earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Representation nationally. Jobs in this field include: legal clerk, research attorney, and legal assistant.
There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including two within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as a paralegal. The most common level of education for paralegals is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. It will take about two years to learn to be a paralegal if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Paralegal
In general, paralegals assist lawyers or judges by researching or preparing legal documents. They also may meet with clients or assist lawyers and judges in court.
Every day, paralegals are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.
It is important for paralegals to ready real estate closing statements and help in closing process. They are often called upon to search for and study legal documents to investigate facts and law of cases, to establish causes of action and to ready cases. They also inspect and file pleadings, petitions and other documents relevant to court actions. They are sometimes expected to ready affidavits of documents and maintain document files and case correspondence. Somewhat less frequently, paralegals are also expected to serve copies of pleas to opposing counsel.
Paralegals sometimes are asked to store and maintain currency of legal volumes. And finally, they sometimes have to research and analyze law sources to ready drafts of briefs or arguments for review and use by attorney.
Like many other jobs, paralegals must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and be thorough and dependable.
Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:
- Lawyer. Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, and manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.
- Legal Assistant. Assist lawyers by researching legal precedent, investigating facts, or preparing legal documents. Conduct research to support a legal proceeding, to formulate a defense, or to initiate legal action.
- Title Examiner. Search real estate records, examine titles, or summarize pertinent legal or insurance details for a variety of purposes. May compile lists of mortgages, contracts, and other instruments pertaining to titles by searching public and private records for law firms, real estate agencies, or title insurance companies.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Paralegal Training
Seattle University - Seattle, WA
Seattle University, 900 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122-4340. Seattle University is a medium sized university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,560 students and an admission rate of 65%. Seattle University has a doctor's degree program in Law which graduated 357 students in 2008.
University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA
University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has a professional degree program in Law which graduated 171 students in 2008.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington
Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.
The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.
The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.